Singular Purpose: Calculating the Degree of Ethno-Religious Over-representation in the US No-Fly List


In January 2023, a partially redacted version of the controversial US No-Fly List was retrieved during a hacking event and made available to journalists and academics. With access to this unique dataset, it is possible to confirm or deny longstanding critiques of whether the No-Fly List features a discriminatory over-representation of certain ethno-religious groups, namely those of Islamic faith and Middle Eastern heritage. As the partially redacted list does not contain ethnic or religious data, the author of this article categorised each name by ethno-linguistic and religious origin to create a proxy with which to analyse claims of discrimination. The research outlined in this article finds that individuals of broadly Islamic and Middle Eastern heritage are vastly overrepresented on the List relative to their proportion of the US population, as well as overrepresented relative to their propensity to engage in terrorism. Only in the narrow analysis of lethality of terrorist attacks committed by this group does the No-Fly List demonstrate fair representation.

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Published: 2024-01-16
Issue:Online First
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How to Cite
Garofalo, M. (2024) “Singular Purpose: Calculating the Degree of Ethno-Religious Over-representation in the US No-Fly List”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.3069.

Author Biography

University of Maryland
 United States

Matteo Garofalo is a Contract Specialist with the Naval Air Systems Command, stationed at Patuxent River, MD, where his primary operational focus is the Asia-Pacific region. He holds a Master’s degree in Intelligence and Homeland Security Studies from the University of Maryland and a BS in International Business from American University. His primary academic fields of focus are international relations, military policy, and intelligence operations. His article, Words from on High: The Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Chinese Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa was published in the May 2023 edition of the International Journal of Politics and Security.